The Cult, The Temple, And The Miracle Water
I think the most insane thing I saw yesterday was the behaviour of the homophobic Bible cult UCKG whose members were out again in town this morning. One of at least five homophobic Bible believing organisations handing out their own brands of crap in town today. UCKG is getting a lot more active in its street evangelism. That’s actually quite worrying. This is a church that tells people that because the sacrifice of Jesus wasn’t enough to save them they need, on top of their tithe, to make two secret gifts every year – usually of a whole month’s income – to the church in order to be able to be saved. That’s not the only reason I’d say the organisation is dangerous to the lives and welfare of people, especially vulnerable people.
This time they were hawking tiny samples of “miracle water” that had been “blessed” in the “Temple of Solomon.”
It wasn’t the miracle water that interested me. I’ve seen versions of miracle water before. It’s part of a common enough scam among the crazier and more creepily deceptive of the money grabbing evangelical churches. For a fun time look up the story of Peter Popoff. Faith in such miracle water (or miracle oil or miracle hankies [honest]) is just as insane and incompatible with true rationality as the faith of so many of those who are called psychotic by modern psychiatry. But organised religion lends respectability to delusional beliefs that could otherwise lead to medication. A delusion is only called a psychosis when it’s not culturally acceptable – official definitions of schizophrenia in the forthcoming ICD-11 tell us that. Even the most mainstream churches in the world have their own versions of miracle (holy) water with various claims about it. Some conservative Catholics, including me until 2011, make very outlandish claims for holy water too. “It’s a symbolic reminder of baptism.” Not outlandish and a help in living a Catholic life if you’re a Catholic. “It protects you from illness and forgives some of your sins.” Outlandish.
It was the “Temple of Solomon” that caught my interest. What the heck? I had to know.
Given that the temple was (according to the story in the Bible) destroyed in 587BCE, that there’s no archaeological evidence it existed and no mention of it anywhere outside the Bible I wondered quite how anyone this century had managed to bless anything at all in the place. If it ever existed at all.
It was a puzzle. An impossibility.
But there was an answer.
UCKG has a lot of money. Every member not only tithes everything but – because Jesus didn’t do a good enough job – everyone has to give an extra secret offering, generally another month of their income, twice a year in order to stand a chance at being saved.
UCKG began in Brazil, where it now has many millions of members, and has its headquarters in Sao Paulo.
And it is there that it has spent 200 million dollars building a replica of the temple in the Bible according to the instructions written in the Old Testament.
The leader, in keeping with the ways of Jesus who owned pretty much nothing and sofa (or mat) surfed, has a personal fortune of a billion US dollars. The church has been accused of “extracting money from the poor for the benefit of its leaders.” A billion dollar scam. At the very least. I’m sure the people in the church are doing their best to seek the light. And that just makes the whole thing far more sad. They’re being scammed in the name of Jesus.
So the water really has been blessed in the “Temple of Solomon.” It’s just an expensive copy in South America that has nothing to do with Bible lands long ago and everything to do with fleecing money from religious believers. Millions of them. It’s really very sad. If there was an interventionist God you might think he would do something about such disgusting misuse of his name.
See. An answer. The blessing (in whatever form it takes) could happen in the fake temple in Brazil.
But it’s an answer that is the most utterly insane thing I’ve seen today.
We’re told we have to respect people’s religious beliefs. No we don’t. This one is crazy. It doesn’t merit respect. It merits being shown up for being ridiculous and part of a cult church run by very rich scam artists. It merits total disrespect. It merits our abhorrence and our sorrow that the cult is still growing in 2018.